In this series, the identity of the participating artists is undisclosed until the following month’s post. We invite artists from different backgrounds who previously do not know each other to hang out together and record their first meeting. Perhaps they will be people you know! This experiment is a getting to know you first date, for the arts. This approach explores encounters through language, as a means to learn from each other.
Please log on next month to find out who's talking in this conversation!
Artist 1: Is this thing on?!
Artist 2: I think so!
A2: Hello! We made it here.
A1: It was such a journey!
A2: It truly was. Our faith was tested.
A1: How was your morning?
A2: Kind of fine, I was so tired I went back to bed again searching for some kind of justification to be so tired and then did laundry. I have a performance tomorrow so I'm kind of "rehearsing" (?). How was yours?
A1: Sleeping or laundry is rehearsing?!
A2: I thought so?????
A1: I love that! And where/what is your performance?
A2: On The Highline, in response to Zoe Leonard's "I want a dyke for president... But tell me about you!! WHO ARE YOU?!!
A1: I'm an artist, but before we move on I have to say that that Zoe Leonard work is in my top 3 favorite works, has been for so long but of course so on our minds these days.
A2: <3 It's truly wonderful. I'm excited to see what people do with it.
A1: Me too. I have rehearsal for someone else's project tomorrow but maybe I should skip it and go to The Highline
A2: Skip it! I'll write you a note. It's 1-3pm.
A1: Are you performing tomorrow? Do you perform?
A2: I am and I do! Do you?
A1: I make performances but I don’t perform in them.
A2: I'm always impressed with people who do that I'd be like actually lemme just do it.
A1: Like it's more efficient for you to just do it yourself?
A2: That's a generous way of putting it:) I mostly do solo work. What project are you working on most intensely/intimately these days?
A1: I'm making something for a group show I'll be in, in the winter. I've been working the past few years with large groups of performers and am still doing that, but I'm also leaving soon on a residency where I'll be working alone for several weeks.
A2: Sounds ideal, a mix of solitude and togetherness.
A1: Yes exactly! So I'm about to embark on this project of how can this group of us who have worked together intimately and consistently create something together yet apart?
A2: A beautiful question.
A1: It scares me.
A2: Together yet apart, as always...
A2: Yes that does sound scary.
A1: There's safety in numbers.
A2: That's what I hear. I think I often feel "safer" on stage alone. But behind the scenes I'm like please help me don't leave me.
A1: What are you in the midst of working on right now?
A2: I bother my friends a lot before shows, they became kind of nonconsensual collaborators. The bigger project I'm working on right now is actually a concert, with like, music. Usually I tell stories, sometimes I sing songs. But I've been writing songs and accompanying myself on the piano. "Accompanying myself" is a nice idea.
A1: Is the content autobiographical? Who or what are the stories about?
A2: I would say deeply semi-autobiographical. I find I have to land on something factually true for it to be funny, but that becomes the point of departure.
A1: Do you have a pre-performance ritual?
A2: I like to call my friends in panic, and also text them. I often walk in Prospect Park before a show. Digestive issues are always important. What about you?
A1: Similar! I'm usually running around making sure everything is all set, sweeping the floor, micromanaging the videographer, addressing needs of the performers. Once a work starts though I fully check out of all those worries and just experience the work. If I don't it's all for naught.
A2: Yes, good reminder.
A1: And yes panic calls to friends always!
A2: Thank god for them. And god help them. What about after the performance? What do you do?
A1: Try to keep working on something, hopefully there's something I've already started that I can go back to. It was good advice a teacher of mine gave me years ago, to find continuity and not put so much pressure on THE SHOW. What do you do when not working on something?
A2: That's so helpful! I need to hear what you're saying!
A1: Aw! It's also so hard and I'm terrible at it! When I'm not working on something I love to just keep things consistent and make more panicked phone calls to friends.
A2: Other than that I teach and do one-on-one somatic work. I learn so much witnessing how people change, slowly and over time.
A1: What kind of somatic work?
A2: It's focused on healing from trauma and developing leadership. I work mostly with people engaged in some kind of social change, looking to continue doing their inner work to serve their work in the world. I just used the word "work" so many times.
A1: Sounds amazing and so important. We should make time to talk about that more...!
A2: Yes please! I don't work in dance but I do get to spend a lot of time in working with and thinking about bodies and how we become what we practice over time. Our time is running out and I want to know more of all your answers!!
A1: Yes rapid fire!
A2: OK rapid fire here we go: What do you do when not working on performances?
A1: I'm a studio assistant to a sculptor
A2: Correct. Next question: What album do you listen to obsessively?
A1: LOL, Fiona Apple Tidal. And you?
A2: GOD YES ALSO CORRECT! The Erykah Badu songbook.
A1: YES. Are you reading anything right now?
A2: I just started A Little Life, which was probably a huge mistake.
A1: No it's amazing
A2: I can already tell it's going to take over my life. Like The Good Wife.
A1: Probably a very important read for you; Re: your somatic work. I'm about to start The Invention of Nature
A2: I don't know it this is humiliating. Next question: Did you ever watch Big Love?
A1: Stop it! It's about Alexander Von Humboldt who was a scientist/naturalist in 1800's. No never seen Big Love
A2: OK, thank you for being honest.
A1: Not a big TV person only because it gives me narcolepsy
A2: Like you just fall asleep immediately?
A1: No but I rarely last even a half hour show. Ok last question, I think you know Ryan McNamara??
A2: In solidarity with you, I'll watch the TV you cannot.
A1: Thank you
A2: I do!! That sweet potato pie.
A1: How do you know him?
A2: Hm...I guess mutual friends, and then we went swimming during a huge scary rain and sand storm on Fire Island this summer where he is I would say an honorary alderman or something if they had that kind of structure? You?
A1: We met over a decade ago, old friends!
A2: Really??? Lucky you both!!! Nothing better than old friends.
A1: So true... Was wondering if maybe we'd actually met before through him.
A2: I wonder!! I hope we can meet soon.
A1: Me too let’s be sure to make it happen.
A2: Yes please. Ryan, stop keeping us apart! What’s his problem?? He also never buys me facials which I think is bizarre.
A1: He bought me a spray tan once
A2: That means he really loves you.
A1: I’m blessed.
A2: Is spray tan like an anniversary level like paper amethyst spray tan or whatever?
A1: Exactly. Ok I have to run to a much less interesting appt but have a good weekend. Do you think the editors will be pleased with us? Did we accomplish what we set out to do?
A2: Yes?! Good luck at your next appointment, and thank you for G-chatting with me!
A1: Yes thank you!